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E00458: The Piacenza Pilgrim records his visit to the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem, where, with other relics, he saw the likeness (species), girdle, and head-band of *Mary (Mother of Christ, S00033). Account of an anonymous pilgrim, written in Latin, probably in Placentia (northern Italy), c. 570.

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posted on 2015-05-02, 00:00 authored by pnowakowski
Pilgrim of Piacenza, Itinerarium 20

First recension
Nam et ibi est illa spongia et canna, de quibus legitur in euangelio, de qua spongia aquam bibimus, et calix onychinus, quem benedixit in cena, et aliae multae uirtutes, species beatae Mariae in superiore loco et zona ipsius et ligamentum, quo utebatur in capite.

'In that place there are also the sponge and reed mentioned in the Gospel (from this sponge we drank water), and also the onyx cup which he [Jesus] blessed at the Supper, and many other marvellous things beside: a likeness (species) of blessed Mary on a raised place, her girdle, and the band which she used to have on her head.'

The second recension follows the text of the first without important modifications.

Text: Geyer 1898, 173 and 205. Translation: Wilkinson 2002, 139-140, lightly modified.


Evidence ID


Saint Name

Mary, Mother of Christ : S00033

Saint Name in Source


Type of Evidence

Literary - Pilgrim accounts and itineraries


  • Latin

Evidence not before


Evidence not after


Activity not before


Activity not after


Place of Evidence - Region

Italy north of Rome with Corsica and Sardinia Palestine with Sinai

Place of Evidence - City, village, etc


Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Piacenza Sardinia Sardinia Sardegna Sardinia Caesarea Maritima Καισάρεια Kaisareia Caesarea Kayseri Turris Stratonis

Major author/Major anonymous work

Pilgrim of Piacenza

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - dependent (chapel, baptistery, etc.)

Cult activities - Non Liturgical Practices and Customs


Cult activities - Use of Images

  • Descriptions of images of saints

Cult Activities - Relics

Contact relic - saint’s possession and clothes


This Itinerary was written by an anonymous pilgrim to Palestine who started and finished his journey in Placentia. He visited the East probably not long after the earthquake in 551, since he presents the destruction of Berytus (modern Beirut) in this year as a relatively recent event. He certainly visited Palestine before the Persian invasion in 614, since in his account Jerusalem is under Roman administration. The Itinerary is extant in two recensions. The first one is shorter and generally closer to the original, but sometimes it is the second recension which preserves the original text. Moreover, the additions that can be found in the second recension, unfortunately difficult to date, bear an interesting witness to the development of the cult of saints. The Itinerary can be compared with an earlier pilgrim's diary written in the 380s by another western pilgrim, Egeria. The Piacenza Pilgrim's itinerary is less detailed than her account, but shows the development of the cultic practices and infrastructure which had taken place in the course of two hundred years: there are more places to visit, more objects to see, and more saints to venerate.


Edition: Geyer, P. (ed.), Antonini Placentini Itinerarium, in Itineraria et alia geographica (Corpus Chistianorum, series Latina 175; Turnholti: Typographi Brepols editores pontificii, 1965), 129-174. [Essentially a reprinting of Geyer's edition for the Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 39, Wien 1898.] English translations: Stewart, A., Of the Holy Places Visited by Antoninus Martyr (London: Palestine Pilgrims' Text Society, 1887). Wilkinson, J., Jerusalem Pilgrims Before the Crusades (2nd ed.; Warminster: Aris & Phillips, 2002).

Usage metrics

    Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity



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